Zoroastrianism – by Miss Humaidah Hayih

Zoroastrianism is a religion that began with a philosopher who is known as Zarathustra or Zoroaster. It began in ancient Persia. Hence, nowadays there are around 150,000 followers of Zoroastrianism and most of them are from India and Iran. This religion is similar like other monotheistic religions which they believe in one creator or one god. Zoroastrianism is also called as Mazdaism and Magianism which is a religion and a religious philosophy.

Actually Zoroastrianism began in Ancient Persia which called as Iran today. It started when the prophet of Zarathustra or Zoroaster was inspired to teach and preach to others when his peaceful society was being torn apart by warring tribes. He saw this as a struggle between good and evil. His followers are known as Parsis which was given to the followers of Zarathustra when they had to flee Persia to avoid persecution by Muslim rulers in the ninth century A.D.

Zoroastrianism’s symbol is fire which is great importance to them. Besides, it is actually the most sacred symbol which is at the center of Zoroastrian worship. The places that they use to worship are called fire temples. For them, fire represents righteousness and truth. That is why a fire is always kept burning in Zoroastrian temples by priests who watch over. In addition, another symbol that is also very important to Zoroastrians is purity. Hence, white is used as a symbol for purity. When Zoroastrians pray to their god, they will pray with a special white belt called Kustis. It symbolizes being bound to their religion and their community. Besides, Zorostrians always wear a white undershirt which is called Sudreh as a symbol and reminder of purity. When Zoroastrians die, the Kustis and the Sudreh will be placed on their bodies on a white sheet which is also another symbol of purity. Any form of decay such as rust or rotting is avoided since this is the opposite of purity. That is why Zoroastrians do not cremate or bury their dead. Hence, they do not want to pollute or add decay to the earth. Instead, they place dead bodies in circular stone towers called ‘Towers of Silence’. At the end, the birds of prey come and eat the decaying bodies.

Zoroastrians believe in one god called Ahura Mazda. For them, Ahura Mazda was the only one who created the world and everything in this world. The evil spirit which also called as Angra Mainyu is the enemy of Ahura Mazda. They believe that one day the forces of good will defeat the forces of evil and restore the world to the state of perfection it was originally.

Moreover, they believe that people are the one who choose whether they want to do good or evil. On the Day of Judgment, if their good deeds are more than the bad or the good deeds outweigh the bad, they will go to heaven by way of crossing a bridge. On the other hand, if the evil outweighs the good or more than their good, they will eventually fall off the bridge and they will go to hell as their final destination.

In addition, traditionally, Zoroastrians do not accept converts which means that it is not allowed for people who are practicing other religion to convert to their religion which is Zoroastrianism. It stated that, one must be born into the religion in order to participate. Hence, marriage within the Zoroastrian community is strongly encouraged although it is not required to do so. However, some communities are accepting converts nowadays because of the number of Zoroastrians which is in steady decline.

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